George Dickel Sour Mash Whiskey - Hand Selected Barrel

Nose: I found this to have an unappealing medicinal scent. It is pretty light and also has hints of something like burnt rubber. This is not something I wanted to keep sniffing. Palate: Well, as is often the case, the taste is nothing like the nose (thankfully!). The first sip hits you with some heat, but it dissipates rather quickly. Then, rye spiciness comes through. The mouthfeel is on the light side and the finish seemed to be on the shorter side. After the first sip, like usual (at least for me), the heat didn’t seem all that bad. It isn’t burning or harsh and, even on the finish, it wasn’t that intense. Along with the spice, there is also some oak, some burnt brown sugar and….I can’t believe I’m going to say this…..on one sip, I actually got a very SLIGHT hint of…….egg. Weird. I’ve never had THAT happen before. Later sips brought out some slight bitterness….almost similar to what you get from a highly hopped beer. Comments: First off, this is not a bourbon, it is a Tennessee Sour Mash. BUT….that said, it is a very close cousin to the KY bourbon. I got this bottle from a local liquor store in 2014. It comes with a very nice metal bottle neck chain and label. The paper label on the bottle is a little confusing. It reads, “Hand crafted in small batches” but it also says “Hand selected barrel”. SO…from the label, it is hard to tell if this is a single barrel selection or not. Subsequent research indicates it IS a single barrel selection and it should be noted that this is different than Dickel’s Barrel Select, which is a blend of 10-12 year old barrels. The label also indicates that this clocks in at 103 proof and that it has been aged 9 years. My record keeping is crap (and, I’m too lazy to check) but I think I paid around $60 for this, maybe less.

[NOTE: Probably less….Total Wine (though not in this area) sells this for $47. The VA ABC system sells it for $50.] The Internet says that this is twice distilled, “exposed to charcoal” and then aged in new American oak (#4 char for staves, #2 for barrel heads) in a one-story rick house. The mash bill is 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% barley. From reading other reviews, I would have to think that there is a wider than usual variance between barrels at Dickel. My suspicion is that it may have something to do with their one-story rickhouse? SO….whatever bottle you drink from may not be anywhere close to another bottle of this. In any case……the bottom line on this is……I didn’t dislike it, but I also found nothing about it that deserved any amount of “going-out-of-one’s way” in the way of effort. It isn’t “bad”…..that is, I wouldn’t turn down a second glass if it were offered by someone. I think for the money, that there are plenty of better selections out there. In fact, I have to say that for the money, and the fact that it is a 9 year old single barrel, I was a bit disappointed. Now, if you like Tennessee style whiskey, then maybe it is something you should try. But I’d recommend a “try before you buy” strategy.